Micromachined silicon acoustic delay line with improved structural stability and acoustic directivity for real-time photoacoustic tomography
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© 2017 SPIE. Recent studies have shown that micromachined silicon acoustic delay lines can provide a promising solution to achieve real-time photoacoustic tomography without the need for complex transducer arrays and data acquisition electronics. However, as its length increases to provide longer delay time, the delay line becomes more vulnerable to structural instability due to reduced mechanical stiffness. In addition, the small cross-section area of the delay line results in a large acoustic acceptance angle and therefore poor directivity. To address these two issues, this paper reports the design, fabrication, and testing of a new silicon acoustic delay line enhanced with 3D printed polymer micro linker structures. First, mechanical deformation of the silicon acoustic delay line (with and without linker structures) under gravity was simulated by using finite element method. Second, the acoustic crosstalk and acoustic attenuation caused by the polymer micro linker structures were evaluated with both numerical simulation and ultrasound transmission testing. The result shows that the use of the polymer micro linker structures significantly improves the structural stability of the silicon acoustic delay lines without creating additional acoustic attenuation and crosstalk. In addition, a new tapered design for the input terminal of the delay line was also investigate to improve its acoustic directivity by reducing the acoustic acceptance angle. These two improvements are expected to provide an effective solution to eliminate current limitations on the achievable acoustic delay time and out-of-plane imaging resolution of micromachined silicon acoustic delay line arrays.
author list (cited authors)
Cho, Y., Kumar, A., Xu, S., & Zou, J.